Solar-powered cars have long been an icon of the far-off future, but soon enough, you could actually own a solar car—one that powers itself rather than relying on a charger.
This week, Dutch clean mobility company Lightyear debuted its long-range prototype, the Lightyear One, with a range of 725 km (450 miles) and a small battery that can be charged directly via sunlight, or from conventional charging stations. The idea is that you could take the car on long road trips because it isn’t dependent on charging infrastructure the way that traditional electric vehicles like Teslas are. The roof and hood of the car are covered with five square meters of solar cells beneath safety glass, which the company claims is “so strong that a fully-grown adult can walk on them without causing dents.” And it is designed to be very lightweight, making it more power efficient.
The only thing is the Lightyear One doesn’t come cheap. The reservation fee for one of the first 500 cars is a hefty €119,000, equivalent to $135,000, and delivery isn’t expected until 2021. Still, this is just the beginning for solar-powered cars. Teslas were originally very expensive as well, but now Tesla’s Model 3 is offered at a fairly affordable price.
This story was one of the best from 2019, and we are happy to include it in our “12 Days of Optimism” as we get ready to welcome 2020!